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Gandy Dancer captures Northern Oldtimers Softball League playoff title

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NORWOOD - The Gandy Dancer softball team ended the 2013 Northern Oldtimers League season on a high note, working its way out of the loser’s bracket to capture this year’s playoff championship.

The Pit Stop Bar and Grill of Winthrop and the Riverview Restaurant of Brasher Falls entered the playoff tournament as the top two seeds and Gandy Dancer beat both squads in en route to earning a chance to play for the playoff title.

Gandy Dancer opened by suffering a lopsided five-inning loss to the Norwood Legion. The road to recovery began with a 6-5 decision over a capable Massena Amvets squad. That win set up a rematch with the Norwood Legion in the championship round and Gandy Dancer posted a 9-6 win to avenge what turned out to be its only loss of the weekend. After handing the Legion its first loss of the season, Gandy Dancer completed its championship run with a 9-7 win in the tournament final.

Team members included; Joe Rockhill, Jim McKenty, Bear Doran, Mike Schwartsfigure, Jim Besaw, Kim Walker, Ed Skonieczny, Joe Koavach, Mike Leigh, Ritchie Demo, Carl Haggett, Jim Raymonda, Dr. Tim Atkinson, Dave Hurley, Dick Raymonda and Steve Pryce. Carol Raymonda served as scorekeeper.

With the win the Northern Oldtimers playoffs, Gandy Dancer emerged as the sponsor of two men’s softball championship squads this summer with the younger team having already captured top honors at the Town and Tavern Modified League tournament.

That success resulted in three players from each squad being named league all-stars who will compete in games slated for next spring. The Town and Tavern champions produced three all-stars and 2 playoff MVP’s while another player was inducted to the league’s Hall of Fame. The Oldtimers champions will be sending three players to the league’s first-ever all-star game will is scheduled for May 2014 and will coincide with the modified league game.

Bear Doran, who also serves as Northern Oldtimers League Vice President and spearheads the all-star and awards recognition for both leagues, offered thanks to all the sponsors, teams and players who helped elevate the level of competition this summer.

“By recognizing our players we give them a chance at earning recognition at the state level and induction to the New York ASA Hall of Fame,” noted Doran.

Two longtime area standouts slated to be enshrined by the state hall of fame this year are Norwood’s Sal LaShomb and Massena’s Gary Gladding

“These guys played when recognition was a given. These guys were great pitchers who usually got the MVP in their leagues,” Doran stated.

“However,” he added, “we want to start recognizing our infielders, outfielders, coaches, pitchers, hitters and umpires and we’re doing this by selecting all-star teams and four MVP’s from our playoff championships.”

Another goal for Doran and other dedicated softball enthusiasts is attracting possible ASA state tournaments for this district.

“Hopefully, we’re headed in the right direction and we will achieve a desired outcome,” Doran concluded.

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